Hil­lary Clin­ton to ri­vals: ‘Bye, Feli­cia?’

GA Voice - - Out Spoken -

“No mat­ter how sin­cerely Hil­lary Clin­ton may per­son­ally sup­port the LGBT move­ment, it’s fool­ish to ex­pect her to be as com­mit­ted to our cause as she is to her poll num­bers.”

If John F. Kennedy was the first pres­i­dent elected by tele­vi­sion, Hil­lary Clin­ton might be­come the first elected by meme. The “Texts from Hil­lary” trend a few years ago loaded Clin­ton with gi­ga­bytes of vi­ral cred, and she cap­i­tal­ized on the re­cent con­gres­sional hear­ing on Beng­hazi by flash­ing her most share­able fa­cial ex­pres­sions.

Clin­ton’s as­cen­sion to the Oval Of­fice, if she wins, will not be solely be­cause mil­lions of peo­ple chuck­led at cap­tions put with pho­tos of her epic eye-rolling, as she is a more qual­i­fied can­di­date than JFK was, and any­one else who has since be­come pres­i­dent. The Beng­hazi hear­ing re­vealed noth­ing but what we al­ready knew: that Hil­lary Clin­ton is ex­cep­tion­ally in­tel­li­gent, self-pos­sessed and pa­tri­otic—and many Repub­li­cans de­spise her.

Yet, the lit­tle that was learned from the hear­ing is sym­bolic of how lit­tle I know about what type of pres­i­dent Hil­lary Clin­ton would be. It’s stun­ning that some­one could be a na­tional po­lit­i­cal fig­ure for more than two decades, and im­part no cer­tainty about how she would vote or lead on any is­sue.

The only thing I know for sure is that I would never be shocked by Clin­ton sup­port­ing pol­icy that is shock­ingly an­tag­o­nis­tic to­ward the val­ues she pro­fesses while cam­paign­ing. Of course, all politi­cians are cal­cu­lat­ing and con­niv­ing, and Clin­ton is a rar­efied politi­cian and dou­ble-crosser.

Hil­lary die-hards in­sist she is im­mune from ac­count­abil­ity for her hus­band’s pres­i­dency, and pre­tend she has suf­fi­ciently atoned for the tri­an­gu­lat­ing be­tray­als of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the De­fense of Mar­riage Act, wel­fare re­form and ex­pan­sion of our na­tion’s pri­son in­dus­trial com­plex. Just last week, Clin­ton con­tin­ued to ped­dle the in­sult­ing sug­ges­tion that DOMA was a mas­ter­ful strat­egy to pro­tect LGBT re­la­tion­ships from dis­crim­i­na­tion, and we were just too dumb to re­al­ize it (if any­one ac­cepts this ra­tio­nal­iza­tion, they are in­deed as stupid as Clin­ton hopes we are).

She was hardly a lib­eral exemplar dur­ing her eight years as a U.S. sen­a­tor, most of which she spent try­ing to cul­ti­vate a cen­trist (even hawk­ish) rep­u­ta­tion to im­prove her pres­i­den­tial prospects. Clin­ton’s ac­tions as Sec­re­tary of State were ad­mirable, in­clud­ing be­ing a force for LGBT rights, but re­cently ex­posed e-mails again dis­play her re­flex­ive will­ing­ness to for­sake the dig­nity of same­sex spouses in or­der to avoid “a huge Fox­gen­er­ated me­dia storm.”

No mat­ter how sin­cerely Hil­lary Clin­ton may per­son­ally sup­port the LGBT move­ment, it’s fool­ish to ex­pect her to be as com­mit­ted to our cause as she is to her poll num­bers. I have no ex­pec­ta­tion that Bernie San­ders will pro­vide stel­lar lead­er­ship on LGBT rights, and his ob­ses­sion with class some­times white­washes how la­bor, cap­i­tal and eco­nomic fair­ness are in­flu­enced by fac­tors such as skin color, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity.

Claims that San­ders could not win a gen­eral elec­tion are dis­cred­ited echoes of what Hil­lary sup­port­ers said about her chief op­po­nent dur­ing the 2008 pri­mary. But our pres­i­dent to­day is Barack Hus­sein Obama ... and he is black ... and same-sex mar­riage is now part of Amer­ica ... and le­gal­ized recre­ational weed is dawn­ing, even in our na­tion’s cap­i­tal … and Black Lives Mat­ter … and a so­cial­ist could be pres­i­dent.

Many are cel­e­brat­ing the Beng­hazi hear­ing as Clin­ton’s “Bye, Feli­cia” mo­ment to her com­peti­tors, but I re­main un­con­vinced that she can lead a chal­lenge to the sta­tus quo she helped cre­ate.

Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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